Victoria Grizzlies’ top line mauls Bulldogs

Brian Drewry

Trailing 1-0 after one period at The Q Centre, Grizzlies’ trio of Olivier Picard, Jack Gorton and Owen Bohn went to work



Playing their fourth game in six nights, the Victoria Grizzlies needed a little spark to get them going Tuesday night against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

And their top line was happy to oblige.

Trailing 1-0 after one period at The Q Centre, the Grizzlies’ top trio of Olivier Picard, Jack Gorton and Owen Bohn went to work in the second period, helping get their team the lead. The Grizzlies fended off the Bulldogs the rest of the game to come away with a 5-2 victory in what was a key contest in the battle for third place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Coastal Conference.

After Matthew Maltais beat Oliver Auyeung-Ashton on a rebound off a point shot to put the Bulldogs up 1-0 just 5:40 into the opening period, the Grizzlies’ No. 1 line — which combined for eight points on the night — caught fire in the second period. First it was Gorton and Bohn setting up Picard for this team-leading 27th of the season at the 9:28 mark, then Gorton, playing his 100th BCHL game, set up Bohn for his 21st of the season to give the home team the lead.

Blue-liner Hoyt Stanley and Picard then set up Bohn for a power-play marker 6:30 into the third to give the Grizzlies a two-goal cushion, but the Bulldogs refused to go quietly. Nicholas Beneteau scored on an Alberni power play at the midway point of the third, but Auyeung-Ashton held the fort from there and Ryan Watt and Luc Pelletier, into an empty net, added insurance markers.

With the victory, the Grizzlies (24-15-5-3) jumped past the idle Coquitlam Express into fourth place in the conference, two points back of the Bulldogs (27-18-3-1). Victoria has two games in hand on Alberni.

Auyeung-Ashton finished with 33 saves for the victory, while Hobie Hedquist took the loss, making 29 saves.

The two teams will now take a couple of days off before renewing acquaintances on Friday night at The Q Centre.

LOOSE PUCKS: It was also milestone night for Grizzlies forward Noah Leibl as the Del Mar, California, product celebrated his 100th BCHL game. … Following the second half of the double-header against the Bulldogs on Friday, the Grizzlies will host the conference-leading Nanaimo Clippers on Saturday night at The Q Centre.